Coronavirus Live Updates: COVID-19 Cases Near 9 Million Worldwide

HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and its effects.

Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.)

California Will Reverse Reopening Plans If Cases Surge ― 6/22/20, 5:30 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said he’ll shut down parts of the economy again if there’s a dangerous surge in coronavirus cases.

“We don’t intend to do that. We don’t want to do that. But I want to make this clear: We are prepared to do that, if we must,” he said at a press conference, noting there’s been an uptick is COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The state has been following a slower, more science-backed reopening plan. As businesses begin to reopen, California continues to introduce more protective measures, including a statewide mask mandate.

― Lydia O’Connor

COVID-19 Cases Surge As States Relax Guidelines, Reopen Businesses — 6/22/20, 4:20 p.m. ET 

Cases of COVID-19 surged to new highs Monday, with a preponderance of cases cropping up in states where social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders were relaxed earlier than others.

A New York Times tracker of virus hotspots shows states across the Southeast seeing sharp spikes, as are Arizona, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Monday urged residents to wear masks while going about their daily business. The state has set a record for COVID-19 hospitalizations for 10 days straight, with 8,300 new confirmed cases in the state on Friday and Saturday alone.

“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas,” Abbott said.

“Our goal is to keep Texans out of hospitals and to reduce the number of Texans who test positive. … COVID hasn’t simply gone away,” he added. “We don’t have to choose between jobs and health. We can have both.”

Florida also saw a record high over the weekend, with 4,049 confirmed cases Saturday. The state has now seen more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to NPR. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) blamed the rising numbers on increased testing — not decreased safety precautions.

— Ryan Grenoble

New York City Enters Phase 2 Of Reopening — 6/22/20, 8 a.m.

Once the epicenter of the pandemic, New York City begins its second phase of reopening Monday, as the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to plummet and deaths have been in the single digits.

City officials say between 150,000 and 300,000 New Yorkers are expected to return to work in phase 2, which includes reopening real estate services, some in-store retail, barber shops, salons, certain offices and restaurants with sufficient outdoor dining space.

Phase 1, which included manufacturing, wholesale, construction, landscaping and curbside or contactless retail, began on June 8, with about 400,000 workers going back to work.

One major obstacle leading up to phase 2: many restaurants in New York City are too cramped to have enough space for outdoor dining. After much criticism from city residents, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that restaurants can use curbs and sidewalks for outdoor seating, and starting in July, restaurants will be allowed to use streets for outdoor seating.

Throughout the pandemic, city officials have shut down more and more streets to traffic as part of the city’s Open Streets program, designed to give pedestrians more walking space.

— Marina Fang

Virus Cases Near 9 Million Worldwide With Surges In India, U.S. — 6/22/20, 6 a.m.

Nearly 9 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, with a surge in cases in India’s rural villages as migrant workers leave major cities.

The World Health Organization reported late Sunday the largest single-day increase in cases by its count, at more than 183,000 new cases in the latest 24 hours, according to The Associated Press.

In East Asia, there were signs of progress in the fight against the disease, with South Korea and China reporting falling numbers of cases.

— Liza Hearon

No Mask Requirement For Trump’s Rally In Tulsa ― 6/19/20, 5:15 p.m. ET

Attendees at President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend won’t be required to wear masks or follow social distancing guidelines, after the state Supreme Court rejected the requested requirements.

The request — made in part on behalf of two local residents who have compromised immune systems and are classified as more vulnerable to COVID-19 — was rejected on the grounds that the locals didn’t have a clear legal right to the relief they sought, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Trump warned that those who planned to protest at his rally would be punished, seemingly setting the stage for huge crowds and violent clashes outside the BOK Center. 

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” he tweeted. “It will be a much different scene!”

Tulsa’s mayor, G.T. Bynum, declared a civil emergency and set a curfew in the area for Saturday night, but the curfew reportedly has been rescinded.

Read more.

Andy Campbell

Why Is Federal Coronavirus Aid Being Funneled Away From Nursing Homes Amid Sweeping Outbreaks? ― 6/19/20, 12:15 p.m. ET 

Lawmakers are asking why the federal agency that regulates nursing homes has failed to distribute most of the money it received to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks at the facilities, NPR reports.

In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) on Wednesday demanded to know why the agency hasn’t doled out the $200 million set aside for nursing homes as part of the CARES Act.

The lawmakers claim that only $1.5 million of the funds have been provided to a handful of agencies in different states so far. They also asked why the agency only allocated $80 million to bolster oversight of nursing home response, $20 million less than Congress allowed.

“Given the emergency, we do not understand why CMS opted for a slow, burdensome process – or why it took so long to decide on this business-as-usual approach – when it could have quickly released funding to states and territories in need by using an expedited process,” the letter reads.

— Andy Campbell

For more on the pandemic, go here. 

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